I hope you are enjoying your summer break! I wanted to share some activities to do at home or on the go to keep up with the skills we’ve been working on over the year.
Fine Motor Skills:
Coloring books are easy to transport and a perfect way to work on grasp, finger strength, grip endurance, and dexterity. Choose your battles here, if you’re most concerned about grasp be more lenient about coloring in lines. If you’re working on coloring in the lines it’s okay to be looser with grasp and postural expectations.
Using tweezers to grasp small items is a great way to practice finger strength and dexterity. Have kiddos grasp tweezers with thumb on one side and pointer and middle finger on the other to pick up an item. A great game that works on this skill is called Wok n’ Roll!
Fuse beads are perfect to practice pincer grasp and eye hand coordination. They are tiny cylindrical beads that are arranged on a plastic card and can eventually be ironed together out form a picture. Ask your child to follow a pattern or work off of a model for extra visual motor/pattern recognition practice. For in hand manipulation skills give your child 3-8 beads in their palm and ask them to bring the bead to their fingertip without using their other hand or the table to stabilize. This skill is similar to when you have a palm full of coins and are put them into a vending machine one at a time.
Visual Motor Skills:
Cutting is extremely important for hand strength, coordination of two hands, and eye hand coordination. Cutting skills should develop in this order: snipping at a paper’s edge, cutting across a paper, cutting along a straight line, cutting out a curved shape, cutting complex linear shapes. Have a chat about scissor safety and remind your kiddo to watch out for their helping hand.
Puzzles are an important way to work on visual perceptual skills, visual scanning abilities, task organization and problem solving abilities. If your child is new to interlocking puzzles try a 12 piece interlocking to start. Encourage them to identify the pictures that they see on each piece and then try to match the pictures. Melissa and Doug or Ravensburger have great interlocking puzzles of all sizes. I often work with 24-48 piece puzzles with the kids.
Letter Treasure Hunt.
Letter recognition is an important skill for letter writing. On long drives or walks ask your child to scan the environment to find different letters. This is an easy, convenient way to increase familiarity with letter and promote visual scanning skills.
Before writing letters, a child must be able to form pre-writing shapes which are vertical lines, horizontal lines, cross, circle and diagonal lines. Start with uppercase letters! Don’t introduce lower case letters until the child is comfortable with upper. Lower case letters are more complicated as they include more curved shapes. When practicing letters I find it helpful to draw a long rectangle which I break up into the number of letters that are in the word. Giving a border is helpful to form letters with correct orientation and consistent sizing.
Use Different Mediums
While practicing letter writing it is great to form letters using different mediums. Create letters using play doh, Wiki Sticks or even wet spaghetti. Write letters in the sand, mud, or shaving cream. Exposure to skills in different ways greatly helps carry over and generalization of skills.